Cooling Lip Balm Canisters

Customer fills canisters with molten lip balm. They were filling them on the move. When the canister came under the dispensing nozzle, the fluid was turned on. By the time the other end of the canister reached the nozzle the canister was full and the fluid turned off.

The problem they were having is with a drip that would fall off the dispensing nozzles between canisters. Before the end of the shift the entire conveyor system was coated with lip balm, creating a problem with canisters sitting level on the belt and contaminating the outside of the canisters.  Each canister had to be hand wiped before packing.

EXAIR suggested a model 5215 Cold Gun to blow refrigerated air onto the nozzle to temporarily solidify the fluid until the next canister came into place. This eliminated the drip problem, the hand cleaning operation, and periodic shutdown to clean the belt.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
joepanfalone@exair.com

What’s In a Nozzle?

People often ask, “So what’s the big deal about nozzles?” They will also say, “I’m in an industry that is really tight with the purse strings these days due to the recession so presenting any new “expense” to the folks in accounting will be met with either extreme laughter or a stone cold NO.

I’ve been searching for a way to explain to potential customers that by simply capping off that open ended pipe with an engineered nozzle, they have already done so many wonderful things for their application, for the personnel who are involved with it and for the company as a whole.

The first and most important thing that they have done by implementing an engineered nozzle is that the application has all of a sudden become much safer for personnel to be around. Our nozzles are designed in such a way that they comply with OSHA standard CFR 1910.242(b) which is also known as the “dead end pressure regulation”.

What does this mean for the bottom line to accounting? Personnel are not likely to come into contact with the high pressure air, possibly causing embolism or some other related injury. Which means less medical costs associated with an on-the-job injury, lost work time, worker replacement, etc.

The second most important benefit of implementing use of a nozzle for a compressed air application is the air consumption is usually reduced by as much as 50% or more depending on the circumstances. What does this mean to the folks in accounting? 

Let’s look at a quick example: Joe has a lubrication and blowing fixture used in a die casting operation. The fixture has a total of (32) 3/8″ stainless steel tubes that are aimed at various parts of the die for cooling and for blowing off excess lubricant. The fixture is fed with an 80 PSIG compressed air source. Let’s assume that 80 PSIG is maintained all the way out to the end of each pipe. In this case, each tube is consuming 88 SCFM of air volume. If we were to simply install a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle onto each of those tubes, we would bring each one down to 14 SCFM for a net savings of 74 SCFM per nozzle! If you multiply that out by 32 pieces, that is 2,368 SCFM of air saved!

Since compressed air is known as one of the most expensive utilities in a manufacturing environment, the impact of what I have just said above should be rather obvious. Since the thought of pushing more than 2, 368 SCFM out to one fixture in a die casting operation is most likely not a realistic scenario, I would like to use this as a lead in to my next topic, pressure drop.

As we move down the list of benefits, eliminating pressure drop becomes a very important issue. Pressure drop will manifest itself as reduced performance from any compressed air product. With regard to the example above, the pressure drop was so severe that the customer was barely able to maintain even 30 PSIG on their manifold due to the extreme high rate of air usage.

Air coming out of an unrestricted pipe is very much like water coming out of a garden hose. Ever wondered why people will lock their thumb over the end of the water hose or use a nozzle?  They do it to restrict flow. This increases velocity which is what you need to spray your car down or reach those second story windows on your house if you are cleaning.

OK, so back to the point. By restricting flow, you build pressure out at the point of use which is where you need it in order to accomplish the work at hand. So, this would be more of an “effectiveness in the application” type reason for using an engineered nozzle. In other words it gets the job done.

One last benefit of using an engineered nozzle for your blowing application would be to reduce noise level generated by the blowing action. When air exits a pipe or tube which has sharp edges or is smashed for airflow effect, the compressed air passing by creates wind shear which is the noise you hear when the compressed air is applied to the blowoff.

Much time and energy has been spent in making prototypes and adjusting the design to get just the right effect when noise is concerned. How you introduce the compressed air into an ambient evironment is just as important as anything else. So, with our designs, we are able to reduce the noise pollution for an application by a fairly significant amount as well.

Again, back to the bottom line, if you reduce noise in the plant, personnel can hear what is going on and thus be safer about operation of equipment. Also, personnel in quieter environments have less tendency to lose hearing over time which in my mind means less medical and other accident related expenses there again.

So, when someone says, “What’s in a nozzle anyway?”, these sorts of issues will generally come to the foreground.  I would hope the context I have presented here for what may seem like a simple device can help some folks think in the right frame of mind when it comes to safety and cost reductions that we are all looking for in our own shops.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Drying Turkeys

Before that delicious honey roasted or smoked turkey reaches your dinner table or lunch meat sandwich, it has to go through a few behind the scenes processes.  The turkey is packaged in shrink wrap, then sent through a washing tunnel before being packed for shipment to your local deli or supermarket.  Before being bulk packed, the packaged turkeys must be properly dried after exiting the wash tunnel. 

They are about the size of a football, but are spread several wide across a 24″ conveyor belt.  So, the drying mechanism must be able to span this entire width.  I recommended our 24″ Super Air Knife for the job.  It can be mounted horizontally across the conveyor, above the turkeys.  The airflow can then be angled slightly opposite the direction of motion of the conveyor.  This will allow the air to “wipe” the water off the turkeys and push it back in the direction of the wash tunnel. 

The air knife will sufficiently dry the packaged turkeys, and will minimize the amount of water that comes out of the wash tunnel, so it does not create a mess in the area. 

Emily Mortimer
Application Engineer
emilymortimer@exair.com

Super Air Wipe Protects Sensor from Contamination

A medical manufacturer is making endoscopes, very long and thin metal tubes used to enter the human body in any number of uncomfortable places, I’ll stop there.

The endoscopes are picked up by a robot and placed into an enclosure where they are blown off with steam to provide cleaning and sterilization. During this process a sensor is used to detect the presence of steam.

The sensor is mounted behind the grippers of the robot so it is positioned as far away from the steam as possible to prevent steam from getting on the sensor. Over time the steam does coat the sensor and keeps the sensor from providing accurate information, disrupting the process and slowing cycle times.

The medical manufacturer place an EXAIR model 2400, 1/2″ Super Air Wipe in between the robot grippers and the sensor to provide an air barrier. The Super Air Wipe is run at a low pressure to prevent it from disrupting any of the steaming process while still preventing any steam from getting on the sensor.

The sensor is able to continue to see into the process through the air wipe inside diameter and provide the feedback necessary to keep the production rates going at an acceptable pace without interruption.

Kirk Edwards
Application Engineer
kirkedwards@exair.com

Cooling Welded Shaft

Keeping a competitive edge means always reinventing manufacturing processes for more productive throughput. A customer who machines spindles implemented a major material savings by changing the way they turned their spindles. Instead of hogging it out of a single billet, sending most of the material out as chips and extended machining cycles, they purchased bars at near net diameters then simply cut them to length and spin welded them together.

Although it was a great success they were not complacent with their achievements and looked for further improvements. Since the next process was a center-less grind, the part needed to cool to normalize tolerances. This created in-process inventory and double handling. If they could cool the part as it came off the spin welder, it could be sent directly to the grinder.

EXAIR suggested its Vortex Tube model 3240.  As the part comes off the welding process, it is inserted into a cooling tube fed with refrigerated air from the vortex tube.

VT cool

Within the welding cycle time the part cooled sufficiently. It then was moved to the grinding operation and replaced by the next part to be cooled.

The total of all the modifications enabled them to reduce lot sizes and move to Just-In-Time manufacturing.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer
joepanfalone@exair.com

What Is All This Business With Air Amplification Anyway?

When we receive calls about Air Amplifiers, it would seem that some people are a bit confused about what these things actually do. They usually end up assuming that Air Amplifiers increase pressure.  This is not actually so.

Instead of amplifying pressure, Air Amplifiers multiply the amount of air volume (CFM) that is moved toward a target for a blowoff, cooling or ventilation application. For these kinds of applications, having more air volume makes for better performance to carry away more debris, heat, or fumes.

One quick example is that of a pipe manufacturer. When they cut the pipe to length and machine a chamfer on one end, they need to blow out the chips that land inside the pipe. They had been using a simple 3/8″ ID hose mounted into position to do it. While the airflow was reasonably strong, it was not of sufficient volume to create a large enough airflow in a 6″ diameter pipe. So, the customer switched to using a model 120021 (1-1/4″ Super Air Amplifier) on the end of their 3/8″ hose.

Now, they not only have the original volume of air coming from the hose, but an additional 18 parts of room air that is drawn in through the Air Amplifier and accelerated onto the target to create a much larger volume of airflow going through the pipe. The effect in this application is that the air velocity in the pipe was increased enough to blow out all the remaining chips much better than the air hose alone.

This is just one example of how you can simply add one of our products to the end of an existing compressed air pipe and increase your performance in any application. If you can think of any such similar applications you have, perhaps you should consider adding an Air Amplifier to improve things significantly.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

Super Air Nozzle, Stay Set Hose Assist Plastic Cup Separator

Whether due to static or not, plastic cups always seem to have a tendency to stick together.  You can never pull just one cup off of a stack without using both hands.  This is true not only for the consumer at a picnic, but also for the machines trying to separate the cups during the manufacturing process.

I spoke to one such manufacturer last week.  He has a machine that takes a stack of plastic cups, sends them through a corkscrew style conveyor and separator, which then directs each cup individually onto a rotating indexer for continuing on to the rest of the processing.

The corkscrew conveyor and indexer move at a very high rate of speed.  Sometimes the cups do not properly separate, and the conveyor misses one, thus leaving an empty spot on the indexer and a hole in the rest of the process.  This can create short quantities in the final packaging, among other immediate problems created by the jam-up at the corkscrew itself.

The customer was looking for a series of 4 nozzles equally spaced around the perimeter of the cup stack to provide a quick air blast to boost each cup off the stack and into the conveyor.  Because the corkscrew and indexer is in a rather tight area, a nozzle on the end of a straight, rigid compressed air pipe would not suffice.  Thus, I recommended that he use our Stay Set Hose along with the nozzles selected for the application.  That way, he could bend the hose whichever way was needed, and it would stay in place.

The nozzles I recommended were our model 1103 Mini Super Air Nozzles, as they would provide more than enough airflow and force, and would also be small enough to access the tight space.  Because mounting could end up needing to be adjusted until it was just right, permanent mounting was not desired.  Thus, I also recommended use of our magnetic bases in addition to the nozzles and Stay Set Hoses.  That way, the entire setup would be adjustable, yet would remain in place once set up. 

To make his ordering just that much easier, I was able to provide him with one model number to get all the component parts in the assembly we agreed on.  Model 1103-9456 consists of 2pc of the 1103 nozzle, 2pc of a 6″  Stay Set Hose, and one dual outlet magnetic base, with a manual control valve on each hose.  Model 1103-9462 consists of 2pc of the 1103 nozzle, 2pc of a 12″  Stay Set Hose, and one dual outlet magnetic base, with a manual control valve on each hose.  These two part numbers got him everything he needed for a simple installation that would provide an instant fix to his application problem.

Emily Mortimer
Application Engineer
emilymortimer@exair.com